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Male breast reduction
















male breast reduction can improve chest shape


Breast tissue is present in both women and men, but usually only grows to form a noticeable breast in females. Occasionally the breast tissue in men can also grow, forming a swelling behind the nipple, a fuller chest, or even a fully developed breast. Breast enlargement in men is termed 'gynecomastia'.



What are the causes for breast development in men?

There are a large number of causes, although commonly no specific cause can be pin-pointed (in which case it is termed 'idiopathic gynecomastia'). Some causes include:

  • Age (it is quite common in childhood, although often settles)

  • Obesity

  • Genetic conditions (such as Klinefelter's syndrome)

  • Hormonal imbalance (underdeveloped testes, pituitary conditions, etc)

  • Excessive alcohol intake

  • Steroid usage

  • Cannabis use

  • Cancer - a very rare cause, but one that must be considered


When should surgery be considered for gynecomastia?

It is important that surgery is only performed after the cause has been treated. Otherwise, the breast tissue may well recur, undoing the entire procedure. It may be necessary, therefore, to have various tests performed prior to any operation, and you may need to see a genetic specialist to ensure there are no obvious genetic causes for the condition.

Occasionally, the cause of breast development cannot be identified, or is not amenable to complete treatment, in which case recurrence of the condition may occur postoperatively.

It is quite common for men to say that they have tried to 'work on their pecs' at the gym. Whilst this may seem a perfectly reasonable course of action, it in fact makes matters worse! The development of the pectoralis major muscle (the 'pec') makes the overlying breast tissue more pronounced and noticeable. This results in more vigorous gym work, making the breast tissue stand out even further, and so the cycle goes on......


How is male breast reduction performed?

This depends on the degree of gynecomastia. If the breast tissue is soft and fatty, and the enlargement is moderate, then liposuction can often be performed to remove the bulk of the fatty breast. This is performed in the same way as standard liposuction. A snug garment is worn for six weeks to reduce the risks of bleeding and lumpiness of the healing tissue.

If there is a hard area of tissue behind the nipple, then liposuction may not be able to remove this. In this case, a small cut is made around the areola (the area that surrounds the nipple). The hard tissue is removed through this cut.

Occasionally, a combination of these two techniques is required.

If the enlargement is large, or the skin has become stretched to allow for breast growth, then liposuction alone may leave excess skin that doesn't shrink back. In this instance the skin needs to be removed, much in the same way as a standard breast reduction.

Your surgeon will be able to discuss the most appropriate method with you.



What risks are involved with male breast reduction?

The risks are generally the same as those for liposuction or standard breast reduction, depending on the procedure you require. Some specific risks to emphasise are:

  • Asymmetry - whilst the surgeon will try to get both sides of the chest looking the same, noticeable differences may still remain

  • Recurrence - it is usually not possible to remove all breast tissue at operation, so the condition has the potential to recur. Treating the original cause, if known, can help reduce this risk.

  • Nipple problems - if hard tissue remains behind the nipple after the operation, the nipple may be pronounced and 'bulge'. Removing too much tissue can cause the nipple to sink into the chest, giving a 'scalloped' appearance. It can be very difficult for the surgeon to judge this at the time of surgery, and requiring minor revision is quite common. Rarely, nipples can react badly to being operated around, and can lose their blood supply, This may result in the need for further operations.


Any procedure involving skin incision can also result in unfavourable scarring, wound infection, or bleeding. This list of risks is not exhaustive, and you should discuss possible complications with your specialist. Whilst these risks will seem very worrysome, and indeed can be serious, it should also be borne in mind that many people have no postoperative problems whatsoever.

The information provided is as a guide only and you should discuss matters fully with your specialist before deciding if this is the right procedure for you. Please also read our disclaimer






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